Right before the 2016 national signing date, Arkansas got a pleasant surprise in the form of its first 2017 pledge.
Metairie, La., Archbishop Rummel linebacker Derrick Munson (6-1, 190) committed to head coach Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks on Jan. 31.
“Arkansas was the first school to believe in me and recruit me and I just think it is a program that is headed up and one that I want to be a part of,” Munson said. “I love the coaches, especially Coach B, Robb Smith and Michael Smith. They are both great guys and great coaches.
“I also like the fans. They are really supportive and hit me up on social media and I can tell how proud they are of their program.”
Arkansas already has two Rummel products on its team in cornerback Henre’ Toliver and linebacker Dwayne Eugene as well as a 2016 signee in defensive tackle in Briston Guidry.
“All of them tell me great things about Arkansas, how it is just like home, how it is a real family and how great the campus and student life is,” Munson said. “I can’t wait to get up there for the spring game (April 23) and check it all out for myself.
“It will be great having all those guys around when I am up there playing.”
Munson, who played safety as a sophomore before moving to linebacker, had a spectacular junior season in which he racked up 158 tackles, 21 tackles for lost yardage, six sacks and two interceptions while being named the Defensive Player of the Year on the New Orleans Advocate’s All Metro Team for Large Schools.
He bested teammates such as Arkansas defensive tackle Briston Guidry and LSU cornerback Kristian Fulton as well as every other large school defender in the area.
Munson had one game this season in which he had 20 tackles – 17 of which were solo stops – forced two fumbles and picked off a pass as Rummel downed Wayne County, Miss., 27-16 on ESPN2.
“I think that I have good speed, but I think that my biggest strength is that I just can get to the ball,” Munson said. “To me, it is all about angles and I seem to know how to take great angles and then blow guys up when I get there.
“I want to get bigger, stronger and faster and I know that will come.”
Munson also has offers from Louisville and Nicholls State so far as well as interest from LSU and most of the other SEC schools.
“I am going to be true to Arkansas,” Munson said. “The Arkansas coaches have a belief in me and I have a belief in them. I just think it is a great fit for me.”